Long-Term Care Facility Dissatisfaction: Identifying and Addressing Common Concerns

Long-term care is a reality many families face with aging parents. While most long-term care is not provided within a nursing home, the quality of care providers, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes vary. Understand why care recipients are dissatisfied to help ensure a better quality of life for your parents.

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Long-Term Care Facility Dissatisfaction: Identifying and Addressing Common Concerns
6 Min Read June 3rd, 2024

If you are like me, every day, I notice a new ache or pain, and I'm not even close to getting "old" yet. From what I hear, my older friends notice their aging and fight against it as best they can. Yet, we really can't stop aging. Seeing our parents get older can be more emotional.

Watching a parent decline due to a chronic illness, accident, mobility issue, dementia, or just general frailty is a deeply emotional experience. When it becomes evident that they need help with daily living activities, assistance that family members may not be able to provide adequately, you want the best care possible for them.

Seeking professional long-term care services will ensure your loved one has the best quality of life. However, there are times when home care is no longer the best option, and you need to start finding assisted living, memory care, or even a nursing home facility.

Your concern for your mom or dad's well-being highlights the importance of choosing a facility that ensures their dignity, health, and happiness. Finding quality care can be challenging. Even when you select a good facility, changes in ownership or management can quickly affect the quality of care provided.

Find quality long-term care services now with a few clicks. The LTC NEWS Caregiver Directory is the largest database of long-term care providers in the United States. It allows you to search for caregivers, senior communities, and long-term care facilities. With just a few clicks, you can find quality care now.

Find Quality Long-Term Care Services Near You

Need for Long-Term Care Services Increasing

As our population ages, many people will need long-term care at some point. The risk of needing extended care is high. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says about 56% of those who reach age 65 will require some form of long-term care, ranging from home health services to assisted living, memory care, or nursing homes.

The transition to these facilities can be challenging for families, so choosing a quality facility is essential for maintaining the well-being and happiness of your loved one.

Quality long-term care facilities go beyond meeting basic needs by creating a supportive environment that promotes resident well-being, dignity, and independence. These facilities offer various activities, opportunities for social interaction, and personalized care plans tailored to individual needs and preferences. Their goal is to ensure a fulfilling and enriching life experience, even for those requiring assistance.

Plus, don't forget the cost of long-term care is rising and not covered by health insurance or Medicare since those programs only pay for short-term skilled care. Unless your loved one has Long-Term Care Insurance or qualifies for Medicaid (because of low income and assets), your parent will pay for care from their income and savings. The quality of care will always be a concern and could lead to your loved one being unhappy with their living situation.

Common Reasons for Dissatisfaction

Residents in long-term care facilities often express dissatisfaction due to several common issues. These include inadequate staffing, lack of personalized care, poor communication, and insufficient activities or social engagement. Understaffing is a significant problem that can lead to unmet basic needs or delay getting help with daily activities such as bathing, toileting, medication management, and meals, which can profoundly affect the quality of life.

The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care says their research shows there are two critical areas of care recipients' dissatisfaction with their care: staffing issues and the quality of care provided.

Our surveys consistently show that residents in long-term care facilities have concerns about staffing shortages, understaffing, and the quality of care they receive. This can include issues like difficulty getting help with daily tasks in a timely manner, a lack of personalized attention, or feeling rushed during interactions with caregivers.

How Quality Facilities Address These Concerns

Quality long-term care facilities address these concerns through various strategies. Firstly, ensuring adequate staffing is crucial. The new CMS rule mandates that nursing homes receiving federal funding must have registered nurses available 24/7 and meet specific staffing ratios to provide better care and improve resident safety.

Effective communication is another critical aspect. Facilities that maintain open lines of communication between staff, residents, and families help ensure that everyone is informed about care plans, changes in health status, and other important updates. Regular family meetings and accessible staff can make a significant difference in the satisfaction of both residents and their families.

Poor Communication Adversely Impacts the Quality of Life

Effective communication is the backbone of quality healthcare. Poor communication from staff, whether it be unclear explanations of care procedures, infrequent updates on patient progress, or a general lack of engagement, leaves patients feeling confused and neglected.

Better facilities will maintain a clear and open dialogue with the care recipients and their families to inform them about their health conditions and treatment and care plans.

Therefore, better long-term care facilities ensure that communication is clear, consistent, and compassionate, which is critical to gaining the respect of patients and their families and fostering a better quality of life and peace of mind.

Additionally, quality facilities focus on personalized care plans tailored to each resident's needs and preferences. This includes various activities catering to different interests and abilities, fostering a sense of community and engagement among residents.

Most Long-Term Care is Delivered Outside Nursing Homes

The reality is that most Americans don't want to live in nursing homes, and a large part of that is the sterile institutional environment these facilities often have. An inhospitable environment detracts from the overall patient experience and can hinder recovery and rehabilitation.

No matter the type of facility, residents and their families are always concerned with the typical culprits of a bad atmosphere:

  • Poor or harsh lighting
  • Uncleanliness
  • Uncomfortable accommodations

Some of these poor qualities in a facility can be identified during a visit before your loved one moves in. However, the available choices may be limited depending on your location or budget. The LTC NEWS Caregiver Directory can be a valuable resource, offering extensive information on various facilities.

More people select assisted living facilities, which are much less institutional. However, there are situations where a loved one will need a nursing home.

Keep in mind, though, that even after choosing a facility, the quality of care can change over time due to changes in ownership or management.

The Importance of Long-Term Care Planning

Planning for long-term care is not just about securing a spot in a facility; it's about ensuring your loved one receives the best possible care, including options for in-home care while protecting your family's financial stability.

While retirement planning often focuses on accumulating assets to live comfortably, it's equally important to consider the potential need for long-term care. The costs associated with long-term care can be substantial, and the burden on loved ones can be life changing. Planning ahead allows you to explore options like Long-Term Care Insurance to protect your savings. Starting early provides more time and flexibility to make informed decisions about your future care needs.

Long-Term Care Insurance can provide the necessary funds for quality care services, including in-home care, which many seniors prefer. This financial support can help maintain your loved one's independence and quality of life while reducing the burden on family caregivers.

However, if a long-term care facility is desired or required, an LTC policy will help remove financial concerns from the equation when finding the best possible care. Your LTC policy will keep you in control when you need long-term care in the future.

But don't wait until you get older to start planning. LTC Insurance is medically underwritten, so the ideal time to get a policy is before you retire.

It might be too late for your older parents, but be sure to speak with a qualified LTC insurance specialist to see if there are options available. Those in their 60s and older can find affordable options if they still enjoy reasonably good health.

Understanding the common reasons for dissatisfaction in long-term care and choosing a facility that addresses these issues can help ensure your loved one lives comfortably and receives the respectful, personalized care they deserve.

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About the Author

Mallory Knee is a freelance writer for multiple online publications where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty and fashion. She particularly enjoys writing for communities of passionate women who come together for a shared interest and empower one another in the process. In her free time, you can find Mallory trying a fun new dinner recipe, practicing calligraphy, or hanging out with her family.

LTC News Contributor Mallory Knee

Mallory Knee

Contributor since September 25th, 2020

Editor's Note

Given the high likelihood that long-term care will impact your life, whether for you or your spouse, planning for it is a critical component of a comprehensive retirement plan. Many people wish to age at home, but in-home caregivers can be costly. Friends and family, while supportive, cannot be full-time caregivers and manage their own lives and careers simultaneously.

Long-Term Care Insurance offers a practical solution by providing guaranteed tax-free funds to cover the costs associated with long-term care. These benefits allow you to remain in charge of your care decisions, avoid draining your income and assets, and maintain your lifestyle and legacy. With LTC Insurance, you ensure that your loved ones can focus on being family rather than full-time caregivers.

A Long-Term Care Insurance policy will protect your financial resources, ensure access to quality long-term care services, and provide peace of mind for yourself and your family. Your LTC policy will help you have quality care, whether at home, in an assisted living facility, or in a nursing home, without adversely impacting your family or finances.

It also helps maintain the emotional well-being of your loved ones, allowing them to continue with their lives without the overwhelming responsibility of caregiving. Planning ahead with LTC Insurance is a wise and compassionate choice supporting your future care needs and your family's quality of life.

Since you need to be in generally good health to obtain an LTC policy, don't delay. The ideal time to get a policy is when you are in your 40s or 50s; however, if you are in your 60s or even a little older, you can find affordable options depending on your health.

Seeking Help in Shopping for a Long-Term Care Policy

When shopping for a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, it is beneficial to work with a specialist who represents top insurance companies. These specialists often hold a Certified in Long-Term Care (CLTC) designation, indicating their expertise in the field and commitment to providing clients the best advice and service.

Working with a specialist can provide you with accurate quotes from all the top-rate insurance companies that offer long-term care solutions. Premiums and underwriting guidelines vary dramatically between insurance companies.

Plus, many general insurance agents and financial advisors recommend products that don't even meet the federal guidelines required for Long-Term Care Insurance. In fact, the policies will say that they are not designed to meet those guidelines. Nor do they understand the benefits of the Long-Term Care Insurance Partnership Program.

One of the main advantages of working with a qualified, independent LTC Insurance specialist is their access to a wide range of insurance providers. This allows them to compare policies from multiple companies, ensuring you get the best value for your money.

A specialist will ask you numerous questions about your health and family history and then match your age with that information and other factors to provide you with the most affordable options.

Finding Quality Care with the LTC NEWS Caregiver Directory

Resources like the LTC NEWS Caregiver Directory are invaluable for those seeking caregivers for older family members. The directory is a free, comprehensive national database featuring all types of long-term care services. It simplifies finding qualified caregivers, senior communities, and long-term care facilities. With over 80,000 listings, the directory allows you to find quality long-term care for your loved one in just a few clicks.

For those with a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, LTC NEWS offers assistance in processing claims from any LTC policy. In partnership with Amada Senior Care, a nationally recognized in-home healthcare agency, LTC NEWS ensures that you and your loved ones receive the quality care you deserve.

This service is provided at no cost or obligation, making it easier to file a Long-Term Care Insurance claim - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim.

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